The Foundation of the Zeynep-Kamil Hospital in Scutari, Istanbul Waqf documents

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The Zeynep-Kamil Hospital, co-founded by Princess Zeynep, daughter of Mehmed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman governor in Egypt, and her husband Yusuf Kamil Pasha, Grand-Vizier to Sultan Abdülaziz, is the first private charitable health institution in the Ottoman capital. Located at Üsküdar (Scutari), "Zeynep-Kamil" continues to serve as a major maternity and children's hospital in Istanbul. The hospital was inaugurated in 1882, following a seven years construction period prolonged due to the decease of Kamil Pasha (1808-1876), and the Turko-Russian wars of 1877-78. Princess Zeynep (1825-1884) aimed to organize the hospital exclusively for women, and the hospital was renowned as the "hospital for poor women" (Gureba-i inas) during her lifetime. Dr. Cemil Pasha [Topuzlu] assumed the management of the hospital in 1896, which was then named "Zeynep-Kamil" after its founders. He renovated the building and modernised the medical equipment. The hospital and its vast gardens were used for the care of the wounded during the Balkan Wars (1912¬1913) and the First World War, especially after Gallipoli campaign. Between 1920 and 1927 the hospital became an asylum for psychiatric and neurological patients, when Zeynep-Kamil Hospital also housed the first neurosurgical clinic in Turkey. The institution was reorganised as a maternity hospital in 1935. Among medical institutions in Turkey, Zeynep-Kamil Hospital deserves special attention as it can be considered the first privately-owned hospital in the Ottoman Empire. The status of the hospital was defined by waqf documents (annexes to Princess Zeynep's trust deed of 1861) dated 1876 and 1883 respectively. The first deed enumerates the properties entrusted by Princess Zeynep and Yusuf Kamil Pasha, the possessions they devoted to the hospital to provide for its maintenance, the rules to be followed in the management of the trust, the nomination of the trustees, besides details of patient care. The second deed that is indirectly related to the hospital itself, allows for a comparison of the properties endowed to the hospital with those mentioned in the initial deed or testament of 1861. These documents contribute to our understanding of the legal and financial foundations of a 19th-century civilian Turkish hospital, and the formation of a private medical institution in historical context.